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Will food 3D printing really become a ‘thing’? – VentureBeat

by • April 16, 2016 • No Comments

Food 3D printing is a thing of a mythical creature. It is been talked of a lot, and there have been a few sightings of it, but no one’s really certain if it’s real or not. Well, I ponder it’s of time someone takes a shot at cracking open the case.
In essence, food 3D printing is this: you take a standard 3D printing device, replace the non-edible material (like plastic filament) with a thing edible, and voilà, you have a food 3D printing device! In reality yet, the outcomes have been less than awe-inspiring. What you typically get with a food 3D printing device is a purée of ideally great food extruded in an odd-looking shape. But, there are a few companies attempting to pave the way to real businesses in this space.
The PancakeBot is a nifty machine that takes advantage of the fact that pancake mix is the ideal consistency to print with. This machine works by extruding pancake mix out of a syringe-like assembly onto a hot griddle. Really, it’s additional of a 2D printing device than a 3D printing device, since what you in fact print are pancakes that resemble 2D images as opposed to 3D structures.
PancakeBotAbove: Image Credit: Kickstarter
On the prosumer or pro side of the spectrum, a company called Natural Machines makes a printing device called the Foodini. Its target user is the experimental chef who wants to mix and match flavors by blending food into printable purées and and so print them out into novel shapes with informative textures. I’ve nat any time tasted the outcome of this system myself, but my general perception is that it has a while to go preceding I see it in a restaurant or in my home.
NaturalMachinesAbove: Image Credit: Natural Machines
Lastly, there is 3D System’s ChefJet. This machine was born out of an experiment in switching the typical plastic powder of a SLS 3D printing device with sugar and replacing the binding agent with a thing a little additional natural: water. The ChefJet produces awe-inspiring three-dimensional sugar sculptures that may be utilized for a variety of purposes — of the many expensive coffee sugar-cube you’ve at any time tasted to intricate sugar sculptures, perhaps to put on a wedding cake. It prints in full RGB color and can inject different types of flavors into the sugar. Again, this is a niche application of food 3D printing and it has barely begun to be utilized by pro bakers and the like.
Image Credit: 3D SystemsAbove: Image Credit: 3D Systems
Examples like these leave me asking one significant question of food 3D printing: What is it great for? The number one factor that determines a technology’s good results is the degree to that it produces value for the end user or application. The value of food 3D printing is not yet apparent. Could it be an talent to intricately and tastefully combine flavors, textures, and shapes into sought-after edibles? Just imagine the next donut (probably what they were eating aboard the Starship Enterprise), where the outside has a delightful crisp to it, the within is as doughy and delicious as you may at any time want, and at the core of the torus is a heavenly crunchy center that melts in your mouth the way your grandmother’s homemade toffee can. Oh, and I forgot the swirl of explosive chocolate flavor variations that alter depending on what part of the donut you are biting into. Maybe that is the use case; otherwise, I’m not certain.
Jonathan Schwartz is the cofounder and CPO of Voodoo Manufacturing, a 3D printing developer. Prior to Voodoo, Jonathan cofounded and sold Layer By Layer, a 3D printing marketplace, to MakerBot.

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